What is the "Jumbo" effect?

What is the "Jumbo" effect?
Wout van Aert - Tour de France 2022

While Jumbo is leaving the sport in 2024 as a sponsor, it had an incredible team from 2019 onwards, redefining the sport as part of the new modern era of cycling. Jumbo was so special as a team, that when a rider joined their team from another team, their performance seemed to categorically increase. This categorical increase was deemed the “Jumbo” effect and many riders saw dramatic performance breakthroughs after joining their squad.

Christophe Laporte is a prime example, who joined Jumbo in 2022 from the French team Cofidis. After joining Laporte excelled, winning multiple classics and stages in the Tour de France.

What do pundits attribute this effect to? Jumbo’s avant-garde approach of utilizing all performance advantages for their riders they possibly could. Jumbo was on the bleeding edge of all new tech and training approaches. From weighing their rider’s food, to heavy use of altitude camps, to meticulous control of their rider’s training regimens. Not all riders liked the “don’t think, just trust” approach to their training, but it’s hard to argue with the outcomes it’s produced over the years.

Jumbo also has a hefty pocketbook, and was and is able to buy the best tech, which includes the likes of 3D modelled bikes and aero bars for the riders’ bodies during time trials or tyres that can deflate or inflate on demand for races like Paris - Roubaix.

Their pocketbook didn’t just stretch to the bike itself, and was heavily focused on the latest potential benefits from nutrition. This included exclusivity on nutrition company Never Second’s “slushie” carb drinks that proved drastically beneficial in lowering riders’ body temperature and providing nutrition during the 2022 Tour de France. Riders from other teams were most certainly jealous. Ketones, a supplement discussed more in a future section, were also used experimentally to aid in the rider’s recovery.

Over the years however, other teams have caught on and started using Jumbo’s avant-garde techniques. Also, Jumbo’s exclusivity deals such as on the self-inflating tyres or Never Second’s slushie drinks only lasted for one year. This has seen the “Jumbo” effect reduce in 2023, and most likely will continue to do so. That is. Unless they come out with “Slushie 2.0” and get exclusive rights on that. But given Jumbo leaving as the main sponsor in 2024, we’re unsure how much money they’ll be able to throw around on the latest tech.

Wout van Aert - Stage 5 - Tour de France 2022